Archery. I did it. It was awesome!
Saturday started off overcast and miserable, but by the time we got out to the archery range, it was a beautiful (if chilly) blue-skied autumn day. We were at the York County Bowmen for Warrior Princess Archery, an event organized by a group dedicated to women doing activities that don’t fall into the ‘typical female roles’.
We got a quick run-through of archery terms and safety from a nice old man. He was corrected partway through his explanation, though, because apparently ‘cock feather’ is no longer the accepted term for the different-coloured ‘feather’ on the arrow (which is supposed to be the one that faces you when you’re shooting).
“I’ve been doing archery for over 40 years, are you going to make a liar of me?” he asked jokingly. For the rest of the day, whenever he made any mention of that particular feather, he said ‘index feather’ in the most mocking voice ever. Hilarious!
The day went fabulously, it was a ton of fun, and I learned a lot. Both about archery and about the fact that I really
want to do it again.
It is much harder to hit the target than it seems in the Wii game. I finally got to the point where most of my arrows hit the board (which required me to aim about two feet below the board)… then I tried to focus on most of them hitting and sticking. That was helped greatly after I switched from a 16 lb bow to a 25 lb bow.
There are some really really cool bows out there. Some of the instructors out helping us brought their own bows, and they are INTENSE. Both the competition and hunting style bows (very long vs quite short), completely unlike the basic bows we were provided with. Ours looked a bit like a cross between Robin Hood and Ikea. Their bows looked more like a cross between Robin Hood and the Terminator.
The sound of over 20 bows all firing at once: Kind of scary. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in medieval wars – 20000 bows all firing at once! The image of over 20 arrows on and around the same board… surrounding but not bursting the balloon we were aiming for: hilarious. We did at least 6 group shots attempting to kill that balloon, and failed completely. If this were a real firing squad, our prisoner should have been allowed to go free… isn’t that the rule?
The old man who gave us our preliminary instructions explained to me how I should hold my bow. He said, “Not everyone holds it this way, but all the good archers do.” That translates to “you can shoot the arrow any way you want…but if you want to hit the target, do it this way”
A man brought his gorgeous and well-trained Vizsla to the range. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to train a dog to stay on ‘this side’ of an imaginary line until the go-ahead for going to retrieve your arrows has been given. Gwynn would have been off chasing every arrow, probably skewered in the process. Also, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love Vizslas! They’re so soft and elegant and sleek looking! And this one just became a dad to a litter of Vizsla/Catahoula Leopard Dog pups. They’re going to grow up looking like white Vizslas with leopard spots, and their current 3 weeks pictures were the most adorable thing. The owner of the Vizsla was basically offering to give me a chance to buy one of the pups, I think(we had a long talk about dogs before he brought up the puppies). It was ridiculously tempting, but Vizslas make my sister allergic, and their energy level would make me either a dead dog-owner or a bad one. I’d be exercised to death or the dog would be under-exercised to obesity. *Sigh* Maybe in my next life, I’ll be a high-energy marathon-training type person… or at least live somewhere with lots of open area for running around… then I’ll get a Vizsla!
By the end of the day, I was nearly always hitting the target, and my arrows were sticking about half the time. My friends and I rounded out the evening by going to a Chinese-Italian eatery decorated in a vaguely old-West theme for dinner. Who could resist the temptation of finding out just what constitutes Chinese-Italian? Turns out, it was
pretty much an American-Chinese food place with the option of getting pizza.